It’s only been a year or so…

I had so many well-meaning intentions for this “interweb” space I have… but being a Mom to two girls, sicknesses (all around), trying to hold a full time job among other things – let’s suffice it to say I have never been good at time management.  I am always that milestone on the project plan that gets pushed and eventually turns into an enhancement request that just never gets implemented.

Why am I posting today though? My girls are good. The youngest that inspired me to put my words out to the ether is doing well. She will be having a visit with EI soon to assess her language and communication skills since they are still lagging behind. I also want to have her hips get examined – they are too loose and “poppy” than I think should be OK. Anyhow, my girls are my super heroes. I seriously wish I could spend every breathing moment with them… well OK maybe I need a break in there.. but you get the gist. However they are not why I am writing this. I am writing this about my husband – Jesse Noller.

These last two years have been really trying. He and I have  had our ups and major downs. I have admittedly thought about leaving. Letting his mistress (anything tech) take the lead while I carry on with the girls.  The past two years have been specifically trying because of a large language conference he has been chairing. I have seen this conference take every ounce of energy from him and leave a pretty cranky and tired (among other things) human (I think) in its place.  It seems there is always some fire or some drama that he has to get into and help resolve. There are a lot of folks who do not like him. He is the squeaky wheel when things are just inherently wrong – but he is more than that – he volunteers to fix it. He does this because his vision of community is striking. He was once that quiet nerd in the background trying to figure what his next step would be, now he is strong, verbose and very outspoken about things like education, diversity, an open community. He is holding a flag and working with those to lead these changes. He worked his globules off in creating something where kids can even join and enjoy. He exposed all this work at Pycon 2013.  I was so proud watching his opening keynote (I am already getting teary-eyed thinking about it). I also felt quite guilty. All this yelling and moaning about how I don’t get to spend enough time with him, the girls don’t get to see their Dad, or when they do he is a grumpy mess – all of those conversations I looked back on when I saw all his work unveiled through the number of attendees, the rise in the presence of women, and the best part to me – the kids, I felt quite awe-stricken. So proud. Amazed beyond belief. I wish I had been there to get on stage and hug him – because that is how much emotion he fired up in me

Jesse has grown and evolved in the 10 years I have known him into a very caring, passionate, humane wonderful person. He constantly attributes meeting me into becoming that person, but I think it’s a combination of things and I definitely think being a father has pushed this growth in the direction it has gone. That is why it upsets me so much – that here is he working to make the Python community work together in an environment that is thoughtful and non-hostile, so it can welcome folks who love to build and create from all walks of life, young and old and inspire future growth into a language that may not have been interesting to someone until they saw the community aspects of it. (Holy long run-on sentence, I know) Python, in Jesse’s world is much more than a programming language – based on some blog posts after the con, it’s not just his world anymore. A lot of programmers want to see that world and have been inspired by it. Here is the bittersweet part of that vision though, there are still many members who do not hold that vision – nor do they care to. There were quite a few instances where folks made some really bad choices, some where they actually broke the law– and somehow now this has become his fault. To the point he is getting harassed – not just on twitter or email or some tech forum, but getting calls – phone calls. To me that is a red flag of escalation. Someone(s) is feeling courageous enough not to hide behind a browser and keyboard. Which to me is all sorts of things, but mostly scary. People are mad that he and other staff members created a COC – guidelines on how to carry one’s self and what would not be acceptable. Not only did they create these guidelines, but they carried them through and a person was removed from the con. It’s unfortunate that it had to get to that point, but that is not the fault of the PyCon staff, that is the fault of those making bad choices. It was not like the COC was something kept underwraps, and no one knew what could happen. I am not sure what makes people think they are above such rules or that they are invincible to consequences. Now why Jesse and others, but mostly Jesse, is suffering bad consequences for something with good intentions is beyond all logical thought.

I am writing all of this because I just need to talk it out (yes I am talking as I type this) and understand why people are so venomous, so scary, so willing to attack others when really they should be looking in the mirror. I know Jesse will still try to carry this torch he lit while chairing Pycon, but quite frankly I sometimes wonder if it is worth it.  The ugliness of things tends to be more apparent than the beauty. I hope that can be changed. Good Luck hun.

12 responses to “It’s only been a year or so…

  • Ashe Dryden

    I hate that you and your family have taken so much for this incident. Know that many of us appreciate Jesse’s stance, his willingness to stick his neck out to stand up for and protect all of us. We realize that in doing so it greatly affects his personal life and his family. If there’s ever anything the community can do for your family, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Julie Pagano (@juliepagano)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I am sorry all of this has taken a toll on your family. Tech community work can sometimes feel like a sisphyean task – I feel this too, and the work I do is tiny in comparison to what Jesse does.

    I am disgusted that some jerks are so angry about the good work that Jesse is doing that they’ve escalated in this way. What they are doing is *not ok*. Let the community know if there’s anything your family needs. There’s good people who will try to help. ::hugs::

  • Andy R. Terrel

    Thanks for lending us you husband! A few bad apples out there may make it seem like the community is attacking him, but the other 2498 folks benefitted from his awesome job.

  • dnoller

    No problem Andy, at the final reveal it was definitely worth it to me.

    Ashe and Julie, I am definitely not looking for anything from the community, save maybe some folks to look in the mirror and stop attacking other members – I love this community. I got to work in it for a bit and every person I came in contact with proved how awesome of a home it can be for folks. You know what I take that back.. there is something I am looking for – I read a tweet earlier today that someone didn’t want to get into the conversation because of how other’s are being attacked – they are afraid to use their voice, and that is not the first time I have seen that.

    My request, is stay strong, help other’s not fear using their voice – defend the community and what is right. Be part of the infrastructure, the foundation so that something immensely solid can be built up on it- so that more kids, more women, more men, more whatever – will join and make Python one of the strongest languages and communities out there. So that Jesse’s work, and the work you guys are doing are not for nought. Drown out the negative:)

    Then I can look back on this with even more fondness than I do now.

  • liz

    The most frequent comment people made coming into our booth at the con (the feminist hacker lounge) was how welcoming and awesome the community was in general for women and what a huge difference it made. I feel that way too actually.

    Definitely hear you about the kids and being the emotional mainstay and domestic/family support of a person doing intense (and good) work. I always think of who is behind these things and give them major props.

    I do think it is all worth it but taking care of ourselves is also incredibly important and one of the things we have to learn or we burn out. Hope you all can make it. ❤

  • selenamarie

    I don’t think we’ve met, and I’ve only met Jesse briefly.

    Thank you so much for your family’s contribution to PyCon, to the Python community and to open source. I personally have fallen in love with the Python community, and am direct evidence that the work Jesse, Jacob, Diana, Lynn and many, many others did resulted in more women being involved in this year’s PyCon.

    And not just more women – but an incredible number of women. So many that not only was I unable to meet every one, but I was able to invite every woman I met to a lunch that overflowed, where we sat on the floor to continue to gather, where everyone marveled at how many freaking women we had around us that we didn’t know, that we now had a chance to meet, that we would love to get to know, to hug, to hack with.

    Your blog post made me cry because I know also these feelings, but on behalf of my husband, who puts up with me spending so much precious time on events, on open source community, on PostgreSQL and now on Python.

  • Gia

    My husband was playing with Python before Python was cool. He loves the community and he misses not being able to attend PyCon each year. He missed this year because I just had a baby. A few years ago, he was unemployed and the community helped get him into the conference and find a hotel. He still talks about that and how you don’t see that kind of thing in a lot of tech communities. He was a speaker at last year’s event and loved it.

    I definitely understand your point of view. I often refer to my husband’s laptop as his silicone mistress. He misses out on a lot with the kids (we now have 7 of them!). We also have a special needs child who has apraxia of speech and motor skill issues. The stresses can pile on and come out at the wrong time. When work calls, he picks up and answers because he loves what he does. He has a passion for it and that passion is just as strong for his family. Our kids really look up to him because they see someone who keeps his word and works hard even if he is not physically seen at the dinner table every night. I still get upset sometimes when work comes first, but I’ve made the decision to let my kids see the positive side of daddy’s work. They get to hear about the good that he does and that when he finally gets that break, they get his full attention.

    I hope this all calms down soon for you. My husband sent me the link for your blog after I told him about the incident I read about at PyCon. You are right that all too often we blame the rules for getting in the way instead of blaming those who break the rules. A good community depends on the individuals within that community showing respect for one another. Good luck to you and your husband. He does a lot of good and I’m sure that my husband was not the only person he went out of his way to help in the Python community. Just like all those fights about work and family priorities, this too shall pass and something else will come along. Just remember that there is an overlying continuity. Don’t break the continuity over one bad event.

  • Michelle Glauser

    My love and support to you and your family. Jesse did a fabulous job, and I’m sorry that it had to be a sacrifice for you.

    • dnoller

      Thank you but honestly there is no need to be sorry. My post was trying to convey that although there was stress and sacrifices made, that all of it was worth it – so worth it. At least all the positive parts of the conference. For those things, I would gladly go through it again.

  • fofer

    Sorry you’re going through this. Jesse doesn’t deserve this and your family doesn’t deserve this. This is a ridiculous situation has spiraled out of control and should never have escalated to this point. That being said, your statement: “Not only did they create these guidelines, but they carried them through and a person was removed from the con” directly contradicts what PyCon’s blog states: “No individuals were removed from the conference, no sanctions were levied.”

    Anyway, I do wish you well and wanted to send some support regardless. “This too shall pass.”

    • dnoller

      Hi there.

      Thank you. So you are aware, there were two incidents reported at Pycon. My statement is referring to the first that occurred. Please see:

      On Saturday night we recieved several reports that an attendee was using an illicit substance during a scheduled event at PyCon. This is illegal, and runs directly counter the family-friendly environment we ask attendees to help us create.

      We spoke to the attendee in question and informed them that their behavior showed poor judgement and was inappropriate and unacceptable at PyCon. They were expelled from PyCon 2013, and will not be allowed to attend PyCon US in 2014 or 2015.

      If anyone has additional questions or concerns about this event or these sanctions, please contact Jacob Kaplan-Moss at .

  • fofer

    Ah, okay, thank you for the clarification. My continued best wishes to you and your family.

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